Is it a phone or a camera? The debate continues with ASUS Zenfone Zoom 

New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) A few years back when camera phones entered the Indian market, Nokia 6600 with a revolutionary camera changed the way people clicked images from a smartphone.

With 13-megapixel and 3x optical zoom loaded with latest features, ASUS Zenfone Zoom wants to do something similar in the selfie era.

The Taiwanese smartphone maker ASUS has extended its portfolio of Zenfone series with an advanced photography-focussed smartphone for the consumers.

What works for this smartphone

According to general consensus, an optical zoom camera (as in Samsung Galaxy K zoom) should pop out of the main body. But the 10-element HOYA lens kit camera — including two prisms — in Zenfone Zoom does all the zooming inside the casing.

With its ultra-thin 5 mm edges and hardware technology that gives clearest and sharpest images, Zenfone Zoom puts DSLR-like photography experience in your pocket – giving a total of 12x zoom and 5-cm macro focus.

The device enables auto-focus in 0.03 seconds, helping click a photo in a blink. The 4-stop optical image stabliser (OIS) enhances image quality by reducing “shakes” while clicking pictures.

We tested the device with its nearest competitor Google Nexus 6P and guess what? It beats 6P, producing sharper and clearer pictures even in low-light condition. But 6P tops Zoom with its front-facing camera.

Coupled with a Panasonic Smart FSI image sensor, ZenFone Zoom captures more light and more colour — in both natural and low-light compositions. You can turn on the night mode by touching an icon similar to an owl’s eyes.

The rear camera benefits from dual-LED Real Tone (and blinding) flash for natural indoor portraits. The manual mode is quite detailed and even indicates if the subject or the frame is straight or tilted with its on-screen tilt-meter.

It has a total of 19 photo and video taking modes inbuilt into the software — including features like time-lapse, pano-sphere and slowmotion.

Apart from an impressive camera, the phone comes with a sleek design. The device boasts of a 5.5-inch 1920×1080 full high-definition IPS ASUS TruVivid technology display for enhanced detail.

The Corning Gorilla Glass 4 offers twice the drop-damage resistance of its predecessor and a 2.5X increase in retained strength. Chip manufacturing major Intel has provided a powerful 64-bit Quad-core Atom 2.5 Ghz Z3590 processor to give computer-grade performance.

The device has a 4GB DDR3 RAM making operations smooth and easy. We did not experience any lag while multi-tasking and playing games.

The 128GB on-board memory and option to expand memory with a micro SD card gives a user ample space to store multimedia files. Equipped with BoostMaster fast-charging technology the charger filled up the phone’s battery in approximately an hour.

The 3,000 mAh battery lasts for a day under normal use, including data on for seven hours and music playback for 70 minutes.

What does not work

Although the zoom is quite impressive, the phone takes a lot of time to zoom in or out for clicking images. Prolonged gaming or keeping mobile data on tends to heat up the phone a bit.

The leather finish at the back is impressive but also makes the phone slippery. At Rs.37,999, the company could have included a fingerprint scanner into the device.

Verdict: A phone with high-quality camera is a good buy for those who are keen on photography. If you are looking to buy Nexus 6P or Moto X style, consider this ASUS device in your list.

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